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Mariava Phillips
June 5, 2024

Top left: Class of 2025 students prepare for their global rotations by networking with past GPS students and donors for the GPS program. Bottom left: Learning how to mix together a prescription for a traditional Japanese herbal medicine called Kampo in Japan. Right: Group picture after completing a three-day pediatric oncology registry workflow training and workshop with five hospitals in Ethiopia.   

Since 2014, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy has offered international Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience sites for Pharm.D. students through the Global Pharmacy Scholars (GPS) program. A total of 248 students have added this program to their resume, with another 42 scheduled to travel in the 2024-2025 academic year. 

This summer marks 10 years of the program and enabling students to learn about health care issues in various countries around the world, exposing students to different cultures and health care systems, extending scholarship opportunities available to students and faculty and developing the next generation of global leaders in pharmacy.  

It is hard to believe that we are celebrating 10 years for our global student exchanges,” said Stephen Eckel, Pharm.D., Associate Dean for Global Engagement and an associate professor in the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education. “When looking at all the students who have benefited from this experience and hearing their stories on how it has shaped them as a pharmacist, I am so glad Dhiren Thakker and the School made the investment to start this program. It has helped in recruiting students; it has broadened the worldview of our students and has created new international partnerships for our faculty.” 

For many students, their GPS experience is a highlight during their time at the School. Below are a few student reflections from the Class of 2024: 

“My pharmacy rotation in Malawi exceeded my expectations of pharmacy outside of conventional learning and allowed for personal and professional growth. From the health care institute to the beautiful nature, this experience created unforgettable memories and lessons that will resonate for the rest of my pharmacy career.” – Bailey Nero, Pharm.D., Malawi 

“There was one day where I was able to shadow the nuclear department at the UCL hospital. As a hopeful nuclear pharmacist, I truly felt like a kid in a candy store being able to see their entire operation from start to finish and ask any questions I had about similarities and differences to what I have experienced so far in the U.S. Already I have been able to share my experiences with fellow colleagues, pharmacists, and even during interviews to further demonstrate my interest in nuclear pharmacy.” – Nic Jimenez, Pharm.D., United Kingdom   

Map of GPS sites, including Toronto.

To add to the celebration, GPS has recently set up a bi-directional student placement with the University of Toronto Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, which happens to be Dean Angela Kashuba’s alma mater. This is in addition to the current placements in Australia, Ethiopia, Japan, Malawi, Moldova and the United Kingdom. This new exchange is set to begin with the Class of 2026. 

“Besides being a premier school of pharmacy that offers excellent education and training for our students, Toronto will allow our school to start building relationships and additional collaboration with their faculty, as we get to know them better through student exchanges,” said Eckel.  


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